CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 43: Why did some of Bill’s winter wheat perform poorly? – solved


Bill’s poor-performing winter wheat was planted in an area of the field where biosolids were not applied. The crop was basically suffering from poor nutrition.

When agronomist Paul Sullivan looked at the biosolids application map for Bill’s wheat field, he immediately noticed that the phosphorus-rich biosolids cake had not been applied to an area that stretched 100 metres into the field behind Bill’s house.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 43: Why did some of Bill’s winter wheat perform poorly?


Winter wheat can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your soils, says agronomist Paul Sullivan. With the growth of winter wheat acres in eastern Ontario, he and his colleagues are quickly learning to look below the surface for clues to what’s happening above ground.

“It’s a crop that really gives you visual indications of what’s going on in the soil,” says Sullivan, who followed his own advice last March when getting to the root cause of some poor-performing winter wheat in a field near Kinburn.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 41: Why did James’ field have a line of troubled soybeans? – Solved

A single row of soybeans in James’ field was damaged by herbicide residue because his precision farming seeding and spraying practices ensured the seed was planted precisely on the stream of herbicide that had spilled out of his sprayer’s leaky pressure gauge the previous year.

Pioneer Hi-Bred agronomist Scott Fife pieced the puzzle together when he noticed an RTK AutoSteer screen monitor in James’ tractor. He then learned that the farmer had been using an RTK AutoSteer system for several years.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 42: How did those devious dandelions get into a Perth winter wheat field?


In this edition of Crop Scene Investigation, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs weed specialist Mike Cowbrough shares his diagnosis of how these devious dandelions (see photo to the right) managed to find a home in a Perth County winter wheat field last summer.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 40: Getting to the root of Jereme’s failing soybeans – Solved

When Ontario agriculture ministry field crop plant pathologist Albert Tenuta looked closely at the roots of Jereme’s soybeans, he found soybean cyst nematodes (SCN).

These microscopic roundworms feed on the roots of soybeans, retarding root growth, starving the plant of nutrients and disrupting water uptake. Typically, this results in stunted plants with yellow or bronze foliage.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 41: Why did James’ field have a line of troubled soybeans?


It was an early-June day in Glengarry County when Pioneer Hi-Bred agronomist Scott Fife slowly pulled off the road and got out of his truck to take a closer look. “From the road, it was pretty striking,” says Fife, who has become one of Crop Scene Investigation’s top agronomic sleuths.

What caught Fife’s eye was a single row of discoloured soybeans that travelled right down the middle of an 80-acre field. “The strange thing about it was it was one row and it was dead straight all the way down the field.”


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